By Dr. Daniel Seidman
January 01, 2006
The highest hurdle for many people is learning to be upset without automatically turning to cigarettes. The solution? Have an arsenal of ideas at hand to deal with an emotional setback without reaching for a pack.
Keep a support buddy's cell number and use it when you feel a craving or as needed. Also, if you're using a patch, gum or inhaler, use it for cravings or as needed.
Stay away from people who are smoking or speak to them in an assertive way. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish so they can be supportive.
Stay away from alcohol or limit your alcohol intake if you used to drink and smoke at the same time.
If you are upset, try deep, slow breathing or call someone, especially someone you really want to talk to, to distract yourself, problem solve or find support.
If you follow the walking plan, the average weight loss in 30 days is 1.4 pounds. If you're concerned with weight gain, try:
Accepting a few pounds because being thin from smoking is associated with poor health
Eating more healthy foods, eating more slowly (put your fork down between bites) and learning to enjoy food more while taking your time
Drinking a glass of water before you start a meal so you can feel fuller and less hungry
Developing new rituals to end your meal, like taking a walk or brushing your teeth.
In general, try to distract yourself when you get a craving, urge or even thoughts about smoking. Remember, these won't harm you and usually ease with time. If they don't, consult a health professional. Also try to continue walking or another exercise, not having cigarettes at home, drinking from a water bottle and staying away or limiting coffee drinking. Develop new rituals like drinking water with lemon or tea instead of coffee.
Take an active part in finding rewarding life activities. Develop new, positive and creative outlets or "healthy escapes." The greater your sense of well-being, the less likely some negative emotion will overwhelm you and trigger you back to old rote and automatic smoking behavior. Remember your emotional life is like a garden. You must work on weeding out problems and cultivating living and growing life projects. Smoking addiction tends to feed on and crop up in unweeded gardens. Live well without tobacco!